Glass. Ohio fieldstone. White oak. Pennsylvania quartzite. White paint. Stained concrete. These minimal materials, the owners’ desire to bring the outdoors into every room, and the architectural acumen of Jose Garcia melded to make this home a breathtaking contemporary vision of living space.
Planning began in 2010 after a pristine site in the woods was selected and purchased. From there, Garcia —a Princeton University graduate and native Argentinian who has spent the last eight years as an architect based in Cincinnati—“quantified and qualified” the owners’ vision. What size home did they want? How many bedrooms? Those quantities were simple.
Then came the subtle stuff that Garcia said he gleans through “concept mining.” During hours of conversation about the owners’ likes and dislikes, he discovers nuanced clues in their language and expressions that identify what they really want—something that’s resting just beneath their consciousness.
He compares the method to the process a novelist undertakes. “In piecing together a character called a building, I have to look at those clues,” Garcia says. “It’s all about the process of getting to know each other. I know it sounds cliché, but in the end, that’s exactly what it is.”
Hard and private exterior components change to soft and open inside the U-shaped house where floor-to-ceiling infinity windows and skylights let in the seasons. The atmosphere is consistent no matter the month, controlled by a geothermal energy system that delivers cool and warm air through concealed, hi-tech vents.
The layout is designed for single-floor living, as the owners requested, and a three-season deck with retractable screens and a fireplace located feet from the rear of the home keep them close to nature, proving that Garcia’s quantifying and qualifying hit the mark.